The music video for Frank Ocean’s song “Nikes”, the first off his new album Blonde, doesn’t shy away from queer elements. In fact, they’re baked into what makes the video so spectacular.
There’s been some confusion surrounding the title of Ocean’s new album, given that it’s spelled as the masculine “blond” on the album artwork while the official title is the feminine Blonde. But the fact that Ocean is presenting us with “two versions” of Blonde is not surprising.
Back in April 2015 he promised he would give us “twooo versions” of the then-titled Boys Don’t Cry. When that album morphed into Blonde and was finally released, there were not only two different spellings of the album (with two different album covers), but also two actually different albums–one that you could get online and one you could get at pop-up stores.
Two-ness exists throughout Blonde and “Nikes.” As Rolling Stone notes, Ocean plays it up in “Nikes”, “singing as a pair of different guises, one a sped-up vocal, the other slowed down, with the two distinct voices weaving alongside and contrasting each other over the song’s first half.”
What’s more, early on in the video, Oean’s image is literally spliced in two.
And binary gender expectations are juxtaposed when Ocean, perfectly made up with Elizabeth-Taylor-in-Cleopatra-level eyeliner, goes racing in some bada** sports cars. Who said you can’t like glitter and hot wheels?
“Nikes” also has no qualms about turning the camera’s gaze on male flesh just as much (okay, maybe more so) than it does on female bodies.
All of that gives a distinctly queer vibe to the video that’s as alluring as the video itself.
Watch “Nikes”, below.